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Something from the Prop 8 trial today triggered a recent memory. One of the Plaintiffs stated the difficulties of having to have people understand what your partner means to you, especially in some casual encounters, like saving a seat for them on a plane, or at a theater.

When Chris and I were headed out to San Diego last month we were some of the last to board the second flight headed to California. Our connection had come in a little late and the flight out was three terminals away.

We already had our boarding passes with our seats together. We got to nearly the back of the plane and there in the three-seat row were two people. Some guy who was sitting next to the window and some sheepish looking woman.

At first she didn't acknowledge us. He didn't even look our way. As I fumbled with the boarding passes and started to ask out loud in my usual I'm-getting-frustrated way about that there should be two seats she took about a minute and then finally told us, "Oh, I thought it would be alright to sit here, my seat is just up there."

She pointed to the middle seat three aisles ahead with no intention to get up and go to it.

Again after another pause, she finally said, "I just wanted to sit here with my husband, that's OK, right?"

No, it's not OK. He's not even in his correct seat, which is the aisle. Chris can tell I'm getting pissed and I really want to tell her to move.

Heck, what I really want to tell her, was "I want to sit next to my husband, too!"

Chris just gives a look and heads towards the seat a few aisles ahead. I guess it didn't really make sense to go into the whole thing, having to explain that we're a couple, and we are traveling together, and at least we had the boarding passes for where we wanted to be. No, the flight was finishing boarding and we just wanted to get on with our trip, so we let it be.

I never spoke to the woman. I think she tried to say a meager "thanks", but as soon as I could turn on the iPod and leave her behind, the better. She didn't even really talk to her husband from what I can remember.

Still, it's that difficulty with explaining your relationship. If I was married to a woman, people would just suspect the woman with me would be my wife, or at least my girlfriend. It takes more effort to describe my relationship to Chris, and it's one that I don't always want to go into the full story about with just anyone.

I wish it was simpler. Sometimes when someone asks, looking at my ring, if I'm married, I say yes. Then if they start asking more, then it's the though, am I coy? Do I just say it? Do I go into the whole California marriage thing? Why can't this be easier?

I love the whole "I'm married in selected states" thing, but having to explain it gets tiresome. You never feel like yours is a relationship equal to those that straight folks can jump into so easily, so carelessly. And when they come down the aisle in some plane, you think, well, they could be a couple. Us? I don't know what they think.

Sure, violence and more obvious discrimination like firing or in refusal of service is one thing, but just that little thing of being considered unworthy of an institution, well that's a deep discrimination that really gets to feeling a resentment and being labeled less than worthy. Boy did Prop 8 do that in spades.

Given that a similar scenario came up when one of the plaintiff was asked about the equality of their relationship, they way they feel discriminated against, or at least find things more difficult by the simple act of having marriage denied them, well it just makes me that much more interested in how this case is going to go.

And if you see the two of us coming, yes, I do ant to sit next to my husband, and not the back of the bus thank you.
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Not that I'm one to replay tweets here, but this morning I decided to post a little note about the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall. I did so not only to commemorate the brave men and women who stood up and decided to push back against being targeted by the police. It was a win for dignity. Sure, it wasn't anything to new to most but on Twitter I have some college friends and others who aren't as aware of gay-bear-world, so it was a good thing to mention there.

Now not more than an hour after I post that, I see a notice from the Dallas Voice that the Ft. Worth police along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC - the states licensers of bars and has an enforcement wing) descended on the week-old Rainbow Lounge last night. They brought a paddy wagon, so they were definitely there expecting to arrest people and make a big splashy raid of the bar.

While I could say that it is possible that the Ft Worth police could be unaware of Stonewall and all that. It's not exactly taught in school. Still, here's a bar that's only been around a week, and you say that there's been enough complaints that it would warrant a raid. It seems awfully strange to me, and naturally my thoughts tend to go to the idea that the police wanted to make a statement, and not a very good one.

It's just one of those things on a day like today you want to say look how far we've come, and all the progress, even if there's still a lot more to be done. Then something comes along and takes it all back.

With Stonewall, there's always the theory that the patrons were mad that it was hot and Judy Garland had died just days before, but I really think that having to hide, and having to be afraid of the police and their raids were the real problem. The fact that getting caught could ruin your life was a factor for a big backlash. Raids were a normal thing then.

While it's an interesting thought that the people at the Rainbow lounge were getting out of the heat, and they were lamenting the deaths of Farrah Faucett and Michael Jackson, but frankly they didn't really make much of a fuss about the raid, and the police did cuff and take people out of the bar so they could charge them with being drunk in public.

Really, I don't think a riot was warranted. Today we should be able to go through the right channels to get answers and we are still waiting for the Ft. Worth police and the TBAC to give us a good reason why the bar was targeted, and why this particular weekend. We have a voice now, where as 40 years ago we didn't, and we need to get answers. If we don't get answers, then it's time to get angry.

Something's fishy here, but let's see what the full picture is, and if it's just the police trying to make a "point" they better be able to defend that point. I doubt that there's really much to stand on for them.

So 40 years from Stonewall we still have to fight and struggle for freedom from discrimination, for dignity, and for the equal rights that we are promised in the constitution. Things are much better, and I'm happy that I can live out and openly, but I know that openness can only go so far as there are not the full protections of the government for me, protections in the workplace, respect for my relationship, and the e ability to pursue happiness just like any other American.

I'm thankful for the people who threw shoes and talked back, I'm happy they got the ball rolling and made it so I could live a better life, but we need to honor them by continuing to push back and strive for true equality.
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The seventh month anniversary of our marriage ceremony in California comes later this week. Now we aren't a couple that makes a big deal about tiny anniversaries or anything, but this one will be the first one that may be missing an actual valid marriage license, depending on what the California Supreme Court rules today.

I've been joking about our marital status ever since Prop 8 passed. Even from the beginning it was odd, only valid or recognized in certain states, and certainly not my native Texas. Are we married, or are we not? Depends. Then once Prop 8 passed, suddenly even the small amount of recognition was also in limbo. Suddenly a contract we had both signed was...well what was it?

Back home it seemed than there hadn't been much change. We started wearing wedding rings, and calling each other husband, not partner or boyfriend, but the relationship stayed pretty much the same. We've been lax about hiring a lawyer to draw up power of attorney documents and getting things taken care of legally, for no matter how California sees us after today, until the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned federally, we won't have the same rights and privileges here in Texas. Texas has a constitutional amendment that bars recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions, or the creation of them by the state. I think Texas would be one of the last states to get rid of the rule, much like it took a federal court case to get rid of sodomy laws here.

Our opponents are desperately seeking a win from the court today. the news lately has been heavily in the favor of marriage equality. Today they will hope that mob rule trumps the rights of minorities and they continue to try to paint the picture of marriage as one reserved strictly for heterosexual couples (or opposite marriage as some deep thinker put it).

It still makes me mad when they continue to try to spin that marriage is tied to the churches when it has long been the fact that no church would have to sanction the union of two heterosexual people (or two people of opposite sex, regardless of their orientation, really). State sanctioned marriage has been a separate institution as much as the separation of church and state has been the law of this land. No one has had to get the permission of a church for years to get married, and the state, not the church grants the rights and privileges of marriage - at least in this life.

And it's not like I couldn't fine a church to get married in. You might not be able to get hitched in a Catholic church to you same-sex partner, but plenty of other denominations will do it, and still have the same appreciation of your Prada loafers.

Let's face it, marriage hasn't been as sacred as our opponents make it out to be since they started granting no-fault divorces. Say what you want about the bonds of matrimony, but when it comes down to it, the partners can break the contract almost as easily as any two business partners. Marriage is a contract from the state, the spiritual stuff is up to someone else.

One thing that throws me is that ads that the proponents of "traditional marriage" (sorry for the scare quotes, but I couldn't come up with another way of putting it, but marriage has changed over the years, from a property situation to a search for a match between two people- another reason not to deny marriage equality) seem to come up with ads that keep up the scare factor that gays are going to come and steal marriage away from them. I never see an ad that seems to truly state why keeping marriage as a separate institution for heterosexuals is important. What is it that we are supposed to be stealing from them? We aren't taking away their rights, or trampling on their relationships. We aren't going to take their children away from them. Heck, for nearly half of them, it doesn't seem that marriage has actually been that great of a institution for them.

It's hard to state how marriage has changed my life, maybe because with the passage of Prop 8 it never seemed fully real. Sure, we exchanged vows in a quickly arranged ceremony under some really odd circumstances. It's something, like many other married couples, we might have waited a little longer to do, but the political situation and the fact that it was California pushed along our decision.

Still, hearing the vows, even if they were done in front of a small group in a conference room of a county clerk's office still made for one of the happiest moments in my life. Those words, weather there's a piece of paper with them or not still stand for me.

I know that chris' family would like us to have a reception, or even a larger ceremony, but I know I've shied away from it because of the political situation. My own family isn't really on-board with the whole marriage thing, so I'm not sure if they would be inclined to come to something or not (not that they don't like Chris, but it's one of those things that the reality of what's family vs. the political dogma don't always mix well). Maybe if things are positive for us today we'll look into doing something bigger, but for now a simple ceremony is fine, and truly, our core relationship together didn't change, and won't change from what happens today.

(Of course the jokey guys that we are, as he was leaving I said that we'll see if we are still married after today, Chris on the way out said i should watch the news and if Prop 8 is upheld he expects that my stuff will be out of the house, as he will not live with someone in sin. Heh.)

I'd marry Chris again if today's verdict comes down against us. I'm not sure there's any great push to do it though. Sure I could get married in Iowa, or New England, but really, without the rights being here in Texas, it's as meaningful as any other piece of paper in the printer drawer. The relationship remains the same either way. With Chris being from California, then the California license was special to us. I'd love to get married in Texas, and maybe one day, many years from now, we will, but I'm not waiting for it.

We will see how the court rules. Because of my work schedule, I don't think I can make it to the rally today, but I'm sure there will be many more rallies, because either way, there's still a very long fight to go, and we're going to have both wins and losses.

So who knows. I say that it won't affect me, but maybe because I've been trying not to get my hopes up, waiting these long months for a decision, maybe it will be something I take more personally than I care to admit at this moment. I look right now and I see that we have a chance to really make history, but I am trying to steel myself for the likely possibility that we will lose today, activist judges be dammed. On we go to the next fight, state by state, and eventually the country.

Still, I'll be keeping the ring on, and still calling Chris my husband,no matter the validity of a piece of paper. My day of decision came when we decided to date each other, and it's only been validated by the choice to move in together and late on the day that we said our vows. A ruling form a court isn't changing that. I think we can still get away with having a first anniversary celebration in October even if it's for our six year relationship.

Update: So there you have it. Prop 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court, but the existing marriages stand, makeing us a limited, collector's edition marriage that's still only recognized in a few states. Expect to see more litigation, both on recognition of these limited edition marriages, and probably a few trying to still invalidate them as they don't jibe with current CA law. The battle continues.

I guess I should frame that marriage licence after all.
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☆ Well, again I'm having to say something about how long it's been since I've written in my journal. For weeks I had a half written post about TBRU that never got off the ground. Partly it was due to stress at work and trying to get through tax season, and now that's over, thankfully. It may not have been as hard as we thought, but it's definitely been a stressful time at work. Otherwise I just haven't been so inspired to write and have been lazy, watching TV in my spare time.

Lets face it, TBRU can be boiled down to a few things. There was great people there, I did my best to stay out of crowds and kept the drama to a minimum. That's not to say that going to Six Flags during Spring Break was not frustrating with the long lines and rude people, but luckily the guys I went with were good company. Also, the Battlestar Galactica finale went great and it was fun to have fellow geeks come over to watch. It made viewing it much more of an event. The finale itself was good, not great, but I think there was a lot of expectations. I saw people I knew and was glad to see them, and met a couple of new people, mostly introduced by people I knew since I'm too shy to go meet them myself.

☆ I'll just a paragraph or five about politics here. I think Obama and his administration are doing fine. Sure, I don't agree with everything he does, but I do appreciate that he seems to be able to plan for the long term and doesn't get caught up in the day-to-day news cycle. Politicians are often too reactionary (see AIG bonuses) and try to respond too often to what the polling shows rather than getting out there and making real plans. I find it refreshing.

The tax day tea parties were ridiculous. What began as a libertarian thing suddenly became some way for disenfranchised Republicans to find a voice, but the problem with that voice is that it seems to find outrage but no substance or solutions. For many people there they seemed to be outraged, but didn't quite know what they were outraged about. Of course you have Fox News out there, actually adding their name to the event. If my parents ever try to tell me that Fox News is balanced again, all I have to do is point to this moment where the right-wing network didn't report the news, but tried to be an event organizer. While I don't find much in the way of objective journalism from any of the cable news outlets, I can't see either CNN or MSNBC trying to actually create a movement for their benefit. For anyone on fox who wants to remain a journalist, it's time to leave.

Funny that these tea bag protests about spending come after several years of Republicans raising deficits while Bush was in office. All this sturm and drang only seems to come around now that they are out of power. I'll take your message as seriously as I do the Code Pink housewives.

Oh, and our governor here in Texas, Rick Perry, is worried about a primary fight against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson next year, so naturally he decides to go to these tea party events to campaign. He's a complete idiot, but he knows the Republican Party here is a bunch of rabid fools (Just check out the Texas Republican Party Platform) so he knows he has to play to these guys. Kay is much more the moderate, and she would do better in a general election, but it will be harder for her to win the primary.

So Governor Good Hair, as we call him, goes out to start talking about Texas shouldn't be ruled by Washington, that states are sovereign and we need to look at secession from the US. Great! Just what we need here is an idiot telling us that we should leave the US. If we left the US, the US would also leave us. Do you think Texas would keep the US companies that headquarter here? Do you think that the US military would just leave all there equipment to us? Do you realize that there isn't a large enough bank based in the state to do commerce with? We are so tied into the US, that...why am I even arguing this, our governor is an idiot.

☆ Lastly, tomorrow we head out to LA for our cruise. I'm excited about going out to see a Dodger game tomorrow night and Saturday getting on the ship for a Mexican Riviera cruise. It's the Lazy Bear cruise, so there should be lots of good people on the ship. chris was on this same cruise a couple of years ago - as were a couple of other LJer's. I'll admit that I am not excited about any of the ports of call, but it will be nice to relax and get away from it all.

I'm packing, trying to get everything I need into one suitcase. You'd think going away for a week wouldn't require so much, especially going to somewhere warm, but I'm struggling to keep the bag under 50 pounds. Luckily this cruise I don't have to bring formal wear.

I have been on one other all-gay cruise, and that was the one to Alaska in 2007. I liked that one because people were dressed a little more warmly, but I see this cruise as a little more body competitive - beaches and pools and such. I'm sure there will be several people in skimpy swimsuits both on and off the ship. I'm already in my mindset that I will be the largest guy on the ship and won't want to be out at the pool area. Hopefully this feeling will change and I'll be able to let go and have a good time, but I'll tell you, it's easy to feel that you are very unattractive going into something like this.

Still I can't just stay in our little cabin all vacation long. This will be odd for me because I'm always looking for things to do on vacation but this one seems to be more about doing nothing. I hope I don't go crazy with boredom as I can't think of any of these ports that I want to explore, or anything. I'll be missing my internet access, too. I'm guessing I'm going to be on deck reading a book quite often. We will see how it goes.

Now if I can just cram all these T-Shirts in the bag!

☆ Oh, and it's possible that California's Supreme Court will rule on marriage next week. I guess we'll see if our marriage is still valid (in selected states) or not. We'll be without internet, but I'm sure we will hear the news on the ship. not that I'm expecting it, but if they rule for marriage equality that is going to be one big party boat.
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I took a half day off from work today. I didn't feel like taking the whole day off today in protest since I didn't really have anything planned to do, say community service wise, so I didn't feel there was a positive point for me to be out all day just to protest Prop 8 and marriage rights.

No offense to those who called in gay today, I just felt like I do more by being in the office. my whole team knows that I got married a month and a half ago to Chris, so i think that does more for awareness than anything else. I remember that I didn't exactly come out and say anything right away about the wedding to my co-workers, but I had to tell my boss just incase there were any HR issues I needed to tackle.

My boss wanted to make a big deal about it to the team, but I didn't think it needed to be. I haven't worked here for even a year yet, and I don't know all my team members that well (I'm kind of quiet at work), so I didn't want anyone to be offended or anything. My boss eventually leaked it to the team and everyone was pretty positive about it. One of them asked me why I didn't announce it to the team. I told her "Have you seen how many McCain stickers are in the parking lot?" My fears were allayed, and I found my team is very accepting.

Another reason not to call in today was that all of my co-workers saw me last night at the holiday event. The company took us out to Main Event - sort of a Dave and Busters type of place, but with crappy food. I managed to win in bowling and wiped up on trivia against a large group of managers. I not only wanted to boast, but not appear that I shrugged work off the day after the holiday party.

While I won on bowling and trivia, I didn't do so well at lazer tag, but wasn't the biggest loser (that gal had negative points) and ended up working a sweat.

So what did I do with my half day off? After going to lunch I went over to the mall thinking that it would be less crowded than usual, which was true. It's been cold, and we try not to turn up the heat too much in order to save money, so I wanted to get some pajama pants or sweats or something. Well, the mall closest to us isn't good for such mundane items.

The lowliest store there is Dillard's and although they do have a large big and tall selection, it's all overpriced. Since retailers are having a difficult holiday season, just about everything was 25% off, but even at that, I think those should have been the prices to start with. I know I'm cheap, but come on, $40 for sweats? I guess I'll wait until late January when all the winter stuff is 70% off.

I got home and I took Joey for a walk before it got dark. We walk for about 45 minutes. I worked to catch up on some little projects I've been needing to do, including changing the vehicle registration in my car. While I have the car door open and went back to get some Windex, Joey just jumps into the car, plops herself in the passenger seat and waits. I thought that she'd get out as she usually associates getting in the car with going to the vets or to the pet hotel. She's never jumped into the car voluntarily without coaxing from Chris or I.

I waited a bit to see if she would get out, as I had finished removing the old sticker and placed the new one on (Check the Date, Love Your State, the sticker says). I went back into the house and she just stayed there, so I got the keys and we decided to take a drive in the nearby neighborhood to see the holiday lights. Just the dog and I. Joey doesn't get very excited about car rides, and she didn't try to hang her head outside the window or anything. She only got excited when she saw someone walking another dog on the sidewalk. Once we got back into the garage Joey was ready to jump out of the car and go back to doing the normal things she does around the house. Those being eat, play ball, chew on her bone and of course, sleep.

Well, now I should get back to the laundry so I can say I did put some of this time to good use.
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I’m looking at the information for this weekend’s rally/protest/gathering here in Dallas and there seems to be a lack of information. All I have is the time, and the place. (Just for locals, it’s 12:30 at Dallas City Hall - check out the join the impact web site of directions)

I’m a member of Generation X. We didn’t protest the Gulf War, not the War on Terror. Perhaps we don't really know how. Although many of our generation have served in the military, there was never a draft for us to be polarized against. Generation X, known as the slackers that we are, never got as worked up about things as the generation before us. I guess we didn’t feel as much need to take to the streets, and we haven’t had the same events, Vietnam, Stonewall, civil rights, as they did. Watching the G8 protests or the protests at the Republican convention seem to be portraits of futility as they are far away from the event and only seem to get minimal attention (and lots of tear gas). Maybe we’re just realists and know that change takes time, and there’s other ways to make that change.

Going into the protest this weekend, my thoughts aren’t about the impact, but more trivial things. Do I need a sign? Do I need to have a big breakfast? How long will it last? Will there be a bathroom? Will I have things thrown at me? Of course there’s the big one: What message are we trying to convey here?

I’ll admit I’m skeptical about the Prop 8 protests. It seems to me that this outrage and concern should have taken place before the vote. I understand the sentiment, but the efforts seem to be rather random and the message doesn’t seem well honed. While I’m skeptical, I support the effort simply because I hope that it will lead to more organization, and a honing of our message.

One of the biggest mistakes I think the gay community has made was not explaining well enough why marriage matters to us, and why full marriage equality is a civil right. We’ve done poorly in arguing that there is a big difference between religious marriage and civil marriage, and it’s the civil marriage we are fighting for. We’ve allowed the religious right blur the lines far too often where you’d almost believe that civil marriage should only be granted by the church. We have to do more to encourage the ongoing conversation of the separation of church and state.

We also need to do more work in bringing people to our side. This is where I’m not sure protesting works. I think our community needs to do more outreach, more works with the religious community and more work with people of color. I think SoulForce that goes out to mega-churches and religious colleges, as well as other groups within various faiths that are trying to work from within are very helpful. I think we’ve missed an opportunity to work with ethnic groups where we seem to encourage gays of color not to engage their communities. I’m probably wrong, but I don’t hear much about this. Perhaps I should read the Pam’s House Blend blog more often.

I think we may have taken too much for granted here, expecting that if we supported civil rights and social programs for others, they would come to help us with ours, but we really haven’t made our case. Perhaps taking to the streets will garner attention, but we need to make this turn into a lasting effort. People will tire of protesting and we need leadership to keep us involved, and the message current. One good thing I heard is to keep placing initiatives for marriage equality on statewide ballots year after year. The pro-life community does this, and though most of the initiates fail year after year, it keeps people talking about the issue.

I hope that the outcome of these protests around the country is that we will see more leaders rise from the grass roots. I believe we’ve gotten to this point because those we look to as gay leaders really weren’t there for the California vote. Groups like Equality California do great work, we need to stop thinking that each amendment is a single state issue, and take it as a nationwide fight. We also need to think longer term than just setting up groups like No on 8 that only work on one specific fight. I’m glad to see the No on 8 organization continue the fight, but the group wasn’t designed for the long haul.

What’s interesting to me is that we don’t seethe nationwide groups taking the lead here. I do see some nationwide groups that assisted including Lambda Legal, The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, but they didn’t drive the No on 8 fight, and they could have done more to generate nationwide support. I’m guessing most groups saw it only as a one-state issue.

The one group that I’m really disappointed in is the Human Rights Campaign. Where are they? I looked at their website and if you looked there was a couple of pictures of a protest, but there’s no action being taken by the largest gay rights group – the one that doesn’t have gay or lesbian in its name. I don’t see them organizing or assisting the protests. They stay in Washington and never get involved with state issues. For a group that takes so much money from the gay community, I really don’t think they give much back. I haven’t give them any money directly, and I personally don’t see much value in doing so right now. I’d really like to see more out of HRC, but I’ve learned to expect much less.

I was much too young for Stonewall, and I’ve attended pride parades, not marches. Perhaps we should look at more activism as we have allowed groups like the HRC fight for us while we went about our lives. We should have taken more action, and fight more of these amendments and restrictions, but we waited for others to do it for us. Now is the time that we should take the movement back and fight. It’s too bad it took another loss in a favorable state to bring us out into the streets.

Oh, and another thing, although the courts are supposed protect the minority from the majority, but we can’t count on them to solve all of our problems. We need to work legislatures and the population at large. We need to win referendums and we need to get governors to sign off on legislation. We can’t put everything into the courts and expect to be taken care of.

This Saturday’s protest could be a big win a big win if we follow through. We should celebrate wins like Connecticut nationwide, and condemn failures like Florida, Arizona and Arkansas nationwide as well. We will get more notice if we make it a nationwide fight. We should get motivated. Now we just need to know how to take this groundswell and turn it into something powerful that will outlast Prop 8.
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This is one of those things that you just have to hate about Dallas. Everyone else this month gets to go out and have fun at their various Pride Events (well, unless you live someplace like Odessa Texas or Kazakhstan. pride isn't coming to visit you anytime soon).

I'm seeing several pictures of people enjoying parades and events, and wish I could join them, even in out 90 degree heat. Sure, we had the true colors tour, and that was pretty gay, but the only Dykes on Bikes you'll see are the ones exiting the arena waiting to get on the freeway to go home.

Sometime, somewhere Dallas got shortchanged. Sure, there's a parade. It's the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. I'm happy for Mr. Ross for getting his name on a parade, but it's not the Pride Parade, it's the Freedom Parade. There's a noticeable difference. Here in Dallas you have the freedom to be gay (especially after Lawrence vs. Texas), but we don't really think you should go around being so damned proud of it.

The Freedom Parade takes place in September. Someone thought that the weather would be better in September than it is in June. Well, that person is wrong. In fact, on average it's actually hotter.

There used to something called Razzle Dazzle Dallas! (you must use the exclamation point) which was the Dallas bar's attempt to keep people here during June, and not running off to other pride events across the nation. The event lasted a few years before dying a death caused by apathy. Perhaps with higher gas prices, and airlines nickeling and dimeing you to death, it's time to create something new, locally.

So those of you out there who get to enjoy your pride event, please share pictures, I'm dying to see what's going on out there, and want to know how much fun you are having. Let's hear it for the boys, and girls, and all things in-between!

As for me, I'm going to go see Wall-E and perhaps Swiffer the floors if I get the notion. I'll just have to wait for my parade to come in.
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I know there’s been a lot said about Senator Larry Craig and his arrest and guilty plea to solicitation of sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. Still, I thought I’d add a few points to the discussion:

I Am Not Gay: Its interesting language that Senator Craig uses in his press conference speech. He said “I’m not gay, I never have been gay.” He gets part of the Christian fundamentalist talk down, clearly making a statement that gays can change their stripes and become “normal people.” However, he uses the word “gay” which usually isn’t approved of in the social conservative movement. Just see the comments by Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Naugle stating that he can’t call them gay, because they can’t be happy in the homosexual lifestyle. It’s almost a red flag that Craig used the word “gay” in his denial, just like he seems to how signals that would make a trained police officer think there was a solicitation for sex.

Of course there is an irony that the conservative Mayor Naugle is leading a charge against restroom sex in Florida, but the two recent, notable arrests are both Republican lawmakers – one in Florida, even.

Entrapment: While most conservative talk show hosts and other Republican politicos have pretty much condemned Senator Craig for being a pervert, there’s a small minority who are trying to dismiss this as an entrapment scenario that was made to snare Republicans. Heck, he never whipped it out, did he?

While on the good side, I’m happy that they are talking about entrapment, which I don’t think is an effective way to get criminals and really is more an invasion of privacy, it’s being hailed in public with such looky-loo shows as NBC’s To Catch a Predator series. It’s interesting that the family values group touts these entrapment scenarios as being so good to keep these guys off the streets, and put them together with harsh fines, but the activity that they are meant to stop is never actually happened. It’s all about trying to make a crime about intent, which is close to thoughtcrime.

The entrapment issue also goes into the social and political right’s attempt to show themselves as victims. So put upon is the team that promotes themselves as the family values group, they feel that they are being targeted at all times. Here you have Tom Delay, not really defending Senator Craig on NBC’s Today Show yesterday, but trying to say that the media was just focusing on the poor, fallen Republicans and not the foibles of the other side of the aisle. Of course, the answers he gave were deflections of what Matt Lauer was asking. Still, the fact is, if you promote family values and fiscal responsibility, and you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you shouldn’t try to pretend that it’s being unfairly covered.

Of course there will be plenty of talk about the officer’s handling of the arrest, and if he acted appropriately when talking to Senator Craig, calling him a liar.

The Outing of Tearoom Sex: This has been hilarious. It’s fun to watch the media have to cover the ins and outs of sex in public bathrooms. They all look very uncomfortable. It reminds me of the Bobbit case where anchors has to start saying the word “penis.” Of course penis is all over TV now. We’ll have to see if toe tapping starts popping up in comedy shows.

Of course, the spotlight does create two problems. One is that we’ll have many more straight guys worrying that someone is going to solicit them in the bathroom now that they think they know the signals. The other is once again gays are being painted as all desiring restroom sex. You get an opinion from people that all gays are lewd and want to get it on in bathrooms, even if media types try to state that most out gays really don’t do this.

It’s All About Power: You see Republicans condemning Senator Craig stating that he pleaded guilty for a lewd act, but the talk is different for Republican David Vittner who was caught in a sex scandal for hiring call girls. Certainly part of it is the homosexual act vs. the more family-friend heterosexual cheating on your wife. It’s doubtful that trotting out your wife and saying that she and God forgives you will work for Senator Craig. Redemption seems to be a very fluid thing with Republicans who seem to be happy with Vittner, but already condemning and distancing themselves from Craig. Perhaps Craig in his speech didn’t ask for forgiveness as Vittner did.

What the Republicans are more worried about is that the Senator will cost them a Senate seat in 2008, and they would rather dump him now and get the Republican governor of Idaho to appoint a new Senator who can be a new incumbent in the next race. They don’t feel they can defend Senator Craig, and it seems like they may know there’s something more behind it, and want to get him off the stage.

Also there’s the desire for power that keeps a man like Craig living a secret life. He can’t be open as long as he still has to play the game, and vote on family values issues. They talk about how sad it is that he can’t be who he is, but I think of it as a trade off for the position he now holds, and what compromises he has to make to keep it.

Sexuality: When ever these scandals happen, I’m always amused how they always conclude that he’s gay since he was soliciting a man. Not that I’m trying to deflect from those of us who are gay just because I don’t want him to join the club, but he might be bisexual, or even straight. I guess I see that sexuality can be a little more fluid. Just because a guy is looking for anonymous sex with men, doesn’t necessarily make me think they are necessarily gay, but more opportunists. Really, it’s harder to get women to give you a free quickie blowjob in a random spot. Perhaps the guy does love his wife, but he likes variety, or he just isn’t getting his needs met. It’s easier to trace a transaction from a sex worker than just trying to get a little action in a cruise-y restroom, so when you see David Vittner getting in trouble for paying for his diaper fetish, you might choose to take your libido to a random spot.

Of course the Senator seems to have some other rumors following him and seems to talk about Bill Clinton as a “nasty, naughty boy” in a voice that sounds like Stewie from Family Guy, so in this case a spade may be a spade. It’s too bad he chose a life that keeps him in the closet, and unable to control himself.
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Over the weekend Chris and I actually went out and were social. We skipped the True Colors tour on Saturday, though we knew people would would be there. I was a little wary of going out on Saturday night to the Denton County Bears pool party not only because I didn't know too many people who were going to be there, but also because i was a little mad from not being able to get a haircut. Yep, good old vanity. Seems like all the cheap ass haircut places were full of people, and after working yet another saturday morning, I really didn't want to have to wait around reading stale magazines waiting for the one or two people to finally get around to me.

Sadly, our friend the stylist has left the haircutting industry to pursue other interests. Good for his wallet, though. Good for our hair too, because although he's a friendly guy, he gets a little attention-deficit disorder when he's cutting and kind of forgets spots.

We made it out to the pool party fashionably late, but not so late to chow down (are we not bears?). I met some nice folk, didn't freak out once I got warmed up, and had a good time. On sunday our little neighborhood had a get together out by our pool. Again, it was tough to meet people I didn't know. Even after living here a year and a half, I really don't know any of the neighbors. Only one of them recognized me from walking Joey occasionally. Still, it was good to put some faces to townhomes around the area. People started to bring their dogs and eventually the dogs were swimming in the pool - and none of the people were. Joey stayed fascinated by the water, but didn't jump in. I'm not so sure she really cared for the other dogs, except for the big lab puppy who she felt needed to be put in his place.

I think it's both Chris' and my goal to be a little more sociable and get out more often. Over the last few months we've been homebodies and really haven't gotten out much. We do know people, people that haven't moved away, and maybe it's time we started calling a little more often around here.


Otherwise, in one of those looking back themes that will crop up from time to time in these 40 days, I find that I don't watch old movies. Pretty much anything prior to Star Wars (1977) is out, and certainly anything in black and white. I know this leaves a ton of really great films out, heck, most of the AFI top 100 are pre '77, but there's just something about old movies that makes me want to go do something else.

This isn't the same for old television shows. I'll be happy to watch a black and white episode of My Three Sons, or Bewitched. I love watching reruns of The Monkees or Green Acres. Perhaps it's just the timeframe involved, 30 minutes vs. 90.

It's not that I've never seen an old movie, there's plenty of old Disney films I've seen, animated and not, say, the Computer Wore Tennis Shoes? There's also Song of the South which I saw on one of Disney's re-releases sometime in the 70's before they pulled the picture for good in the US. I wouldn't make a big effort to go see them again.

that's another part of it, I rarely re-watch movies. I see them once, maybe twice, and that's it. I don't buy many DVD's because I really don't re-watch them. Even my Kevin Smith movies sit in a box, unwatched. The movie I've likely seen the most is either Airplane or Sixteen Candles because they ran on Showtime all the time in the summer during high school. they seemed to show The Wiz a lot, too.

Part of this may be due to my Dad. He's such a fan of John Wayne and WWII movies that he'll re watch them over and over. I don't know how many times I've seen parts of The Fighting SeeBees or The Searchers or Force 10 From Navarone. I never saw Saving Private Ryan because it seemed like it would be the same thing all over again, just with Tom Hanks.

There's something about needing to move forward in movies that's bigger than my need to move forward in music listening. I love to find new music, and listen to what others of you are listening to, but I like to mix that in with favorites across the last 60-70 years. Movies seem to be more of an in-the-moment thing. I caught a few minutes of Deep Impact on cable the other day and I was already thinking that the movie looked dated.

I'm sure I could ask for, and get a hundred different classic movie selections, but really, I'll stick to trying to see new stuff and the movies i've missed over the last few over the weekend watching The Italian Job, which was fun. Of course it's based on a classic Michael Caine movie that I really have no desire to see.

Of course that doesn't mean I want to see every remake, either. At this moment, I'm still thinking of skipping Hairspray.
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Good weekend, beautiful weather, and running around trying to get things done before this week's TBRU festivities. Chris and I got our pre-run haircuts. We didn't spend as much time as we should have cleaning the house for our incoming guests. Especially bad as Joey has totally eviscerated a rope chew toy and there are strings all over the house.

I spent much of the day yesterday watching Chris play softball. I felt kind of awkward as I'm not on a team. I felt even more awkward as I don't know anyone on Chris' team, and most of the people we played with last year were playing a field over. I spend most of the doubleheader with my nose buried in a Series 7 book, studying the driest material ever. Did not make for a lot of fun. Perhaps I made the wrong decision about softball, but I didn't hear anyone clamoring for my poor playing skills.

As I had a lot of trouble with tickets for The Police, I'm kind of wary to buy tickets to the Cindy Lauper/Erasure/Margaret Cho tour - the one I'm calling Gays take over the Smirnoff Pavilion. What a great venue for a super gay tour. It's not so much the tickets price or the acts, but that the tour supports the Human Rights Coalition (HRC). I'd be much more interested if it benefited an organization that I felt did more for the community than make little stickers, have big, fancy fundraisers, and build itself new headquarters. I'd much rather support GLADD, NGLTF or Lambda Legal.

OK, in my way of trying to be the person who ends memes by doing them last...go ahead, ask me questions. I'll try to answer them soon, and it will get me up and writing. I've been kind of silent of late.
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So I finally hit the floor at my new job. I've had three weeks of training, and I was dubbed ready to be out there with a mentor. Sure, I'm not as fast, and don't expect to be, but much of the job is research, so I'll learn what i need to look at and what i can skip soon enough.

I'm actually out on the floor earlier than expected. Part of it was that I got it. Quickly even. It's certainly not brain surgery or anything, but several others with varied backgrounds are still in training, and will be for another three weeks. Their job is not that different than mine, but here I am, on the floor. I'm kind of proud that i didn't start at the beginning, missing an early week of training as i finished my two week's notice at AIM, and now out amongst the real workers.

It also factored in that my trainer was going on vacation for the next two weeks. Still, they didn't put me with anyone else.

Of course the early exit means I have to start taking thirty minute lunches like everyone else. training, as it always is, was a little lax on the rules. I also lack a desk with a working computer. That was still to be requested and delivered. In fact, I'm still not sure what desk they will give me, since they all seem occupied to me.

So I borrowed a desk today of one of my new coworkers. His was closest to my mentor, a woman who's sour mood I'm just going to ignore, so he was shuffled of to another desk. He went home sick, so I also inherited his work for the day. It took me a while, but I got it done. Tonight it was in the hands of sourpuss, and she will grade it. i wonder how picky she will be?

Still, the desk had several pictures - more than most people's desks have - of his wife and two daughters. It's always a little awkward working in someone else's space, especially with pictures of family around you.

I wasn't trying to be nosy, but when you're on hold for 30 minutes with nothing to do, you start looking around (I moved nothing, I didn't even go for supplies from his drawers). still, over in a stack of books, there was a Portuguese Dictionary. Now his family looks to be very, very caucasian-american, as does he, but next to the dictionary was, in portuguese, the Book of Mormon. I wondered about his ability to translate. Later I wondered if he had the special underwear on.

Now many people in training have asked me why I moved to Dallas, and I've been very honest with them, telling them that I moved to be with my partner. I don't see the reason to lie, and the company's big enough that they should be able to handle having a gay boy or two along with the Mormons and Catholics and those who go to The Potter's House (TD Jake's church) on Sundays and such.

I guess the Book of Mormon gave me a moment's pause, wondering it I should bring my bear flag and a picture of Chris to the office, but I thought about it and shook it off. I should be able to express myself within reason, and I'm not doing it to threaten anyone. Heck, I saw a "got jesus" bumper-sticker in one cube, I'm sure some would be offended there. it's not as I'm telling people they must accept my life, just that we all work away from our loved ones, and we all have those little differences that we want to express. My cubicle will be my little touch of home just as our Mormon's is to him.

Besides, it should be about your work both as an individual and within the team. Still, I'm sure I'll offend someone with my Astros pennant.
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The word got out among my team on Monday. Now they were nice and kept it amongst themselves for a few days, not telling me until I was asking for agenda items for Thursday's meeting where I was going to tell them. Melissa, the gal who's super scared of hurricanes, asked if I was going to have an announcement. I deflected by saying, "what announcement would that be?" she then wouldn't say much more.

When I did tell them, they all seemed to know it, but they were nice about it, though I could tell that they were worried about the future, and they have every right to be. With so much change, and the specter of outsourcing on their horizon, nothing is stable anymore. I told them that I'm trying to finish my projects as much as I can, but wouldn't be able to finish everything, so I'll try to dole out what I can.

The team wanted to take me to lunch because two of them will be on vacation this next week, so Friday was their last day with me. We went out to Double Daves for some pizza and talk. My new boss came as well, and so did a few of the team members I've had in the past who were with me on the 20 person team I had at one time. One of them, Morgan, a supervisor in his own right, joked that he would be taking over the team, but we all knew that there was a kernel of truth to it. he might get the gig, and that would be fine.

Every one had questions on who would take over, and I mentioned that I didn't know, but I'm hoping that they will pick John, the brightest of the current team members, to take over. My new boss said they haven't even talked about it yet, and that sounded par for the course to me. The team was concerned that I wouldn't be there to train someone, and I said that the company just doesn't move that fast, and the burden will be on them to make sure the team works and the new person understands what the team's special responsibilities are.

I worry about them. I guess I shouldn't, and move on, but this has been such a part of me.

By friday the entire office knew, and I got tons of questions of where I was going and what would I be doing. Almost every comment was followed by "are they hiring?" or "I hope to follow you out the door." No one seemed to have confidence in their future with the company. I guess this makes me feel better about leaving. I already know of another supervisor who's leaving so I guess 2006 will have as many people leave as last year did.


On the homefront, I'm living with a lot of boxes, and I'm trying to get as many things ready to go out the door as I can. I still need to get the kitchen packed up, but I do have another week of living here to go. All the CDs are in boxes, as are the DVD's and the incredibly large amount of action figures I have. Things have been stuffed everywhere in my small apartment, so it takes time getting everything out of the nooks and crannies.

Last night, I had a rather good time going through all of the porn. Yep, all the published porn that's in the house. there are many, many magazines, most purchased between 1985 and 2001, before my internet connection caught up with my need for hunky images. Besides the large outlay of money that I lament on now, I noticed that the choices I made weren't always the best, as I tried to find my taste in men, and of course the availability to get good magazines.

As many of my bear friends would tell you, finally finding the late Bear Magazine was a godsend, though the early issues were kind of grungy. Still, I have plenty of issues of Advocate Men and Colt and other things, like the First Hand readers. When you're single and closeted, it was how you got by.

Now I hardly look at these things anymore, so I'm tossing a lot of it out. I'm keeping the Bear issues, since that's more of a collectors item for me, but a lot of other things - especially the issues where there was only one hot guy, they are not coming with me to Dallas. Unless someone wants them, And I guess you'll need to be local, the big trashbag of porn is going to make the apartment dumpster very, very gay for a couple of days.

Oh well, I have to go take some unneeded clothing over to Goodwill. Maybe I should take the trashbag of porn to the Salvation Army.
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Last night after a quick dinner at Chipotle, I went out for coffee with Kip ([ profile] scarabbear). We talked about a few of the issues in our lives, and dealt with a night that actually felt cool - moreso than the rather-warm for winter weeks we've been having around here. As we were getting ready to leave Dietrich Coffee kip asked me to drop him off at the Ripcord, and me in shoes that weren't sneakers, i felt like, what the heck, I'll go to.

The ripcord was as it always is, with a combination of good and not so good looking people. Jerry ([ profile] goofycubb) was running around with his shirt off, and for a while I was wondering if he even brought one with him. We ran into several people we knew, and a few I didn't. I finally got the chance to meet Pete ([ profile] thepetey) and Eric ([ profile] musclemedic911) and we spent some time talking about, what else, LJ. As they moved on, someone told me that they were both very focused on me...I'll attribute that to being the new person they were meeting, but hey, attention is good. I'll admit that they were a very attractive, and nice couple.

I actually was having a good time, talking to several people, lusting after a person I just met - a cute Hispanic cub that seems to be actually going out with an acquaintance, so obviously I couldn't move in and do too much, thought his boyfriend (if they've gotten that far) did make him pull his shirt off and make everyone around stroke his hairy chest. I'm thankful for that.

as the night progressed, there was a young man who was running around me in circles. I've seen him and talked with him before. He's nice enough, but when he gets drunk, he gets weird. Very weird. He's come up to me and told me I was cute and asked to kiss me before. No big deal to me, but apparently was to him.

On the flip side, i got lots of good comments about my new glasses and the longer beard, which was cool. Still, I'm thinking of getting rid of the beard's length soon, especially because it shows off my grey hair.

So drunk boy got up to me and tried to talk to me. I say tried as he mostly said "You are too beautiful" and would walk away. It was completely bizarre as he would come back and say "I can't keep coming up to you, you are too much" and run off again. He finally came up and gave me a deep, nice kiss, which i was fine with returning...and ran away again. Even his friends seemed stunned by his behavior.

It's not like the guy is bad looking, he's not, but he has that whole thing of trying to look casual, but knowing that someone took quite a long time to achieve that look. His outfit was put together, his hair was full of product and his goatee well trimmed. Here I was in my hoodie, having not shaved for the day. I guess it was kind of an opposite thing. i don't think I looked bad, but i didn't really try, nor was I expecting anything with an impromptu trip to the bar.

His friends were talking about his odd behavior, and switched to odd propositions that they had gotten on Bear 411, so I told them about the feeder guys I have been hit on by, and they were amazed. I was surprised that they hadn't heard about this. I can see as we're talking that the cute guy is still working around the dark room.

He came up and kissed me a couple of more times. He comes a few times more and hugs me, or rubs a hand across me. He pulled my shirt out and rubbed my back. Then later he comes over and tries to stick his hands down the back of my jeans - the tight Eddie Bauer ones - to try to grab my ass - or more. Luckily I had my belt cinched tight, so he wasn't able to get far before he gave up and shouted that he couldn't go on doing this. Very odd.

I think the moment that I thought it got to stalker...was as he was trying to hold me he (I was standing there like a post) he turned from side to side and said loudly, "Lou Rawls is dead!" It was that moment where the evening went from interesting to just being enough that I needed to get out. It wasn't that it was a bad evening, but it just frightens me that I get the drunken oddballs coming after me.

I said goodbye to people as the odd boy was away, though probably still watching me. I did get a kiss from the cute fuzzy hispanic guy, which made me happy, and I moved out the door. I was happy to see that stalker oddball boy didn't follow me on the way out, but you never know when you're being watched.

Still, I wasn't feeling odd and distant in the bar like I usually do, but it was an entertaining couple of hours. I guess I'm slightly more comfortable with being social in this biorhythmic wave.

Oh, side note: The Book of Daniel, is bad. Not because of the reasons the AFA thinks it's bad, but that it's trying to be a copy of Desperate Housewives, where everyone has a problem, and everyone has a secret, and that's their entire character. The church surroundings aren't a part of the problem, it's just a background. The characters are bad and unlikable, and I'm not sure if the show can make that work. if the show is canceled, it should be for that, not because people feel offended by something they aren't watching.
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It's almost the close of another World AIDS Day.

As I've mentioned before, I've only been lightly touched by the disease, possibly because of coming out so late, and just not having the circle of friends that others had during the most difficult years. Of course the disease hasn't passed, and while things are more bearable in North America, that's not saying that this disease is not still exacting a terrible price across the globe. Many places are still quiet about telling their citizens how to protect themselves, or even details about the disease. Now education might be more difficult as attention turns to the disease of the season. Last year SARS, this year Bird Flu, next year, who knows?

I have friends who are living with HIV, I have known one person who has died from AIDS-related complications, a drum major in college. I hope not to lose more. For their sake and ours, I hope there's a cure and a vaccine, soon.

Still, with all the extra news stories and the attention payed to AIDS, i heard something I didn't ever expect to hear. President bust actually used the word "gay". While he was mainly focusing on his continued abstinence program (I'll save judgement for now) he did pledge to expand AIDS programs here and abroad, and praised the gay community for their continued work in battling the disease. Heck, how could we not?

Still, it's the actually the fact he used the word "gay" and not the more approved homosexuals. He's stayed away from "gay", let alone "lesbian" for his entire two terms since the conservative crowd doesn't like "gay". It's perceived as being too accepting of homosexuality and that just can't happen.

Of course the President had trouble pronouncing "condom".

one more little tale, a personal one. In my short time out, There's been a minor AIDS scare or two, besides finding out about one partner's status a while after, there was also the odd call I got one evening.

Now I do try to take precautions, either through practice or through prophylactics, but you know I prefer the term "safer sex" because you never know. Still, when I got the call, I was in a bit of shock. This guy was telling me that he had reason to believe that he might have been exposed, and that I might have been as well.

After the initial shock, I thought about it, and realized that it wasn't anything to be too alarmed about because we were both responsible, and I knew this person was of good character. I declined to ask him why he felt he may have been exposed, since it really wasn't my business. I thought at least he was honest, compassionate and responsible for calling me, even though he was still waiting on test results.

In the end it was a false alarm. My regular test has come back negative, and in begin in contact with him, so did his. A relief for us both.

Still, sex is risky business, and should be thought of that way, but we must all balance our lives between what we must be responsible for in life, and enjoy the true pleasures.

Today, remember, prepare and fight, hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to live freely
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I left a little early from work, and made the drive to the polling place. In most of my experience voting, these places are usually manned by senior citizens and there might be one or two other people voting. I was surprised when the elementary school's parking lot was full at six o'clock at night and there was a line waiting to vote.

All we had to vote on in my precinct was the nine constitutional amendments to the Texas constitution. From the comments of some, I could tell that most of them the people voting hadn't even heard of. One was for land rights in two panhandle counties and another had to do with the board makeup for the bus authorities. It's amazing how poorly written the state constitution is where you have to put this stuff up to a vote.

As a few other of my fellow Texans have stated today, I think we all felt rather alone in our lines to the ballot box. In looking over my fellow citizens, I got the feeling that they were all going to be voting for Amendment 2, the marriage ban. If we're lucky, the amendment is so poorly written that it will be taken to court and proved to ban all marriages in Texas. My frustration says that it would be the just rewards for how the vote went today.

It's not surprising to see Texas vote as it does. It's a very conservative, church going state, and has been for a very long time. These are the people who have voted for Tom DeLay and will probably do so again. I guess it just disheartens me to see the state in this fashion. This is my home, and always has been, and to see the people of this state devalue my life, my rights, and those of my friends really hurts.

This morning at work, one of my coworkers, one that had told me that she was going to vote against amendment 2 came over to my desk and asked if I knew where to find her polling place. Before I could answer the gal who has been moved in front of me said, "Oh, I've got it! It's right here on the KSBJ website!" Both Melissa and I cringed, because KSBJ is the local "God Listens" station. I told Melissa that I'd find the Harris County Election site for her and send her the link. Still, i suddenly felt like the enemy was near. It's not that she's unfriendly, but that there's obviously a difference in dogma at work.

So how many people in that polling line were also sent there by the blathering of KSBJ's God Squad, or the local conservative radio crowd, or their church pastor? I'll never know, but I felt alone, and right now, seeing that the election results are looking like 76% for the ban, i truly feel like a loser.

I had to vote, I couldn't let the back of my head knowledge over the overwhelming odds stop me, but In a way I wonder what difference I really made. I guess there was some, for I did get back a couple of responses today to the email I sent to my friends over the weekend, telling me that they also voted against the proposition. They are part of the few, the proud, the 24%.

If Texas truly means "friends" what does it say when your friends vote against you? How can I work to get my friends to understand? How do I not feel like a sea of Texans are against me now?

Somehow I have to hope that this will change, and that these current biases, and this stupid argument will eventually drift away, maybe not in the next five or ten years, but maybe in my lifetime. More and more, there are people and groups out there taking a stand. It might not be marriage per se, but at least for tolerance and equality in other areas. Much has changed even in my lifetime so far.

I guess I just have to hope that sometime in the future, Texas will have it's head pulled out of it's ass. Hopefully it will have the independent spirit to do it itself, rather than having to have some George Wallace event to change it's course, but that's just that I'm hopeful that my "friends" will see the light.

At this moment though, It's looking rather dark, and I'm rather sad to be a Texan.
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Interesting information not only about a Chicago high school that chose a Jock and a Cheerleader to be homecoming king and queen, but also about the guy who opposes them...well, at least one of them.

Channel 5 in Chicago covered the story of the high school that picked a gay boy (the cheerleader), and a lesbian (the jock) and interviews one of those family values creeps to act as a counter-balance to a story of acceptance. interesting how he doesn't have much to say about the lesbian, it's only the young gay boy that's pointed out.

Still, it's an interesting world, no?
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I went, as usual, to dinner with my parents tonight. I had plenty to talk to them about tonight, with the layoffs and seeing Tim Bratcher, and looking into trying to diagnose my clutch problem on the car. Dad is much better than I on mechanical problems.

Both my parents remembered Tim and were wondering what he was doing now. I told them what I knew, and mentioned that he remembered that we owned a computer back in 1979 and was grateful for the exposure. I also threw in that he was looking to move back to Houston, and my Mom asked why, I told her, "because gay life in San Antonio kinda sucks."

My mother then proceeded to state that she knew it all along. Really Mom?

I was meaning to talk to my parents about one more important issue, but I was waiting until we got back to their home before starting in on it. However, my mother ended up bringing it up indirectly in the car. Texas is having an election in November, and the ballot for most Texans is simple a selection of nine different proposed amendments to the state constitution. The Texas constitution is full of amendments because the actual constitution is so poorly written.

Mom said that early voting was coming up in a week, but this year they were not doing it on weekends. Since I still vote in the district (don't get me started) this would prove a problem for my being able to vote in this election. I'll have to make a special trip. Still, my parents always vote early, so I needed to cover the topic before early voting started.

This year the inept Texas Legislature, instead of revising property taxes or fixing higher education funding or anything else that they were sent to Austin for passed a raise for themselves, debated a "sexy cheerleading" law, and placed the unfair and unneeded marriage amendment on this ballot. Proposition 2 is a slightly watered down version of what was first proposed, but still would prevent marriage equality, and keep a civil unions bill from coming to the floor. Of course these are both already prevented by the DOMA law passed several years ago under then Governor Bush. The proposition also would prevent any other implements of marriage from being granted to same-sex partners.

What they originally wanted was to prevent any same sex partners from being able to obtain equivalents through law, mush like power of attorney, or wills, but this was later recended. What is a part of the proposition is still vague enough so that a legal interpretation could try to invalidate domestic partnership benefits and adoptions, and I'm sure there will be those who will try to use it as such, even it it's current language.

So I tried to talk to my parents about it. I did talk to them once we got home, but Dad had already turned the TV on. He was watching some old western, as usual, so I know he was trying not to deal with the issue. Mom at first said "Well, it doesn't change anything," and I had to explain to her that it does, because it tries to provide an legal edge that people could try to challenge gains we have already gotten, and things that help our community. I also added, if it didn't change anything, what would be the reason for it?

I could see that Mom was actually a little bit open to the argument, especially as I explained that in defeating this, it still doesn't remove DOMA, and it's certainly not something that Texas judges would be striking down anytime soon. Texas judges are just as conservative as our legislators are. I told them that this was just a way to keep things at status quo for now, and trying not to put discrimination into the constitution.

Dad groaned at that one. I guess from someone who still doesn't like women in the Episcopal ministry, it's kind of par for the course.

I did mention to Mom that I knew that this proposition was a bit of a disappointment to the legislature because they couldn't move it to the 2006 ballot when they could use it to drive more evangelical voters to the polls in an election year. The only major elections happening in the state this year is Houston city council. This is why there hasn't been quite as much of a push to pass this law, and a big push to defeat it, well, at least have a good "against" showing.

The fact is, and I even told my parents this, Proposition 2 will likely pass. It's pure numbers in this state. Even with the expected low voter turnout, politics and culture in Texas is definitely conservative. There are television ads here in Houston, to try to hit the area with the expected largest turnout, to try to show people that a vote for this proposition is a vote against real, live people. People who live in their community.

So it's odd to be trying to tell someone to please vote, because even a close vote will be a "win" here. Still, I asked for my parents to consider it. I didn't try to force it, or demand that they tell me how they would vote and why. I know that it's still a bit of a stretch for them, so trying to explain why it's important for their son is difficult without seeming overbearing. I guess I'm trying for the soft sell, wafting somewhere over the current cattle drive on the tube.

I think it's also the difference about accepting their son, and having to accept a community.

It could be interesting if they get to meet Chris in the next week or so. I'm not sure if Chris is ready for them.
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The other night I was out late and I needed dinner, so I went to good old Whataburger close to my apartment. Generally this is an out of the way location and is often empty, even when other locations would be full. Maybe this is because it is next to a 24 Hour Fitness location.

I pulled in and saw that the parking lot was fuller than normal, and there seemed to be several teens outside the location. After walking in, I noticed that one whole side was taken up by several more. After I ordered and sat down, and even larger group strolled in. So now the group was around 30 and of course, not all of them were eating.

There were a couple of girls with cheerleading outfits on, they had letters on that spelled SBS, or Second Baptist School. The large christian campus is nearby, and has a school. I had forgotten that they have a football team that plays other religious schools in the area, and apparently the game had let out, and here were some of the students, of course without their parents.

Here I was eating my burger and reading My Queer Life by Michael Thomas Ford. I'm not sure if this was really the best situation, but I had this feeling...and I get it often when I'm in a room of people from a christian organization...that I just want to jump up and waive a rainbow flag. I'm not sure why this is. I'm wondering if this may partially be from coming out so late, or just a frustration with fundamentalist society.

I watched the spoiled brats for a bit. I say that without irony, these are definitely privileged kids who don't know how good that they have it. It's just like those kids on that awful show on MTV, My Super Sweet Sixteen. Kids, you're parents are spending a lot of money to keep you sequestered from a lot of the world's ills, too bad that for most of you it will take years if you ever come to your senses.

Still, as I thought about it, There really wasn't a reason to jump out and be Mr. Hairy Fag to these people, heck, they may be more open to it than their parents, or their grandparents, but I'll never know, because I'll never know these kids. who knows if they are really fundamentalists like their school wants them to be, or not.

I'd probably just color myself worse if I did have a rainbow flag hidden somewhere on my person, being the big, in-your-face faggot. Sometimes being the normal out guy, like I am at work is the better way to change perception. You never know, some kid in that Whataburger might have noticed the book I was reading and figured it out, or not, but still, if any of them were to know, hopefully I put on a decent face...if you can call a guy who's alone at a Whataburger at 11pm a great role-model.

Of course it did cross my mind that really, doing or saying anything could get me in far more trouble than I could handle, too. I recently heard that the men who beat up and left for dead Houston citizen Paul Broussard back in the early 90's were up for parole this week. Those men were in high school in the Woodlands when they found their target, looking for a gay man to beat up one night. Again, sometimes you have to think.

So no, there was no big show. I'd have no idea what it would have been if I actually would ever do something like that, but I guess we always have to think about when and where we come out, whether to be proud of ourselves, or to prove to the world what being homosexual is all about. I know that sometimes I want a parade to happen, and it doesn't come, but that's just because I don't want to feel alone, like I did in that restaurant. Perhaps another reason we come out is just to find our place in the world.

As a light addendum to this, one little remarkable thing happened tonight that kind of set my National Coming Out Day for me. I went over to Jerry's ([ profile] goofycubb) to see tonight's Amazing Race episode and he had a guest staying over from New Braunsfels. As we got to talking, Tim was telling me that he used to live in Houston and grew up in the Woodlands. I mentioned that I had grown up in Conroe.

Suddenly there was something there...a recognition. he asked me when I graduated high school and I told him, one year before he entered, but the connection really rolled in when we talked about where we lived, a block away from each other! I said, "What's your last name?" "Bratcher," he said. Suddenly I was bowled over. Tim Bratcher was not only here, but a bear.

If I had only known this several years ago. I'm telling you, he's cute now, but it would have helped to have known him several years ago. Apparently he was much more able to come out in school and part of it is that he went to the new school, and not redneck Conroe High.

So we ended up talking for a while, especially how my family's ownership of a computer back in the early 80's helped him pick the career he has today. It's interesting the lives you touch, and you barely know it.
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I was at the store today picking up food for the week and while I was in the checkout line I noticed that I was the only person in the place who did not have flats and flats of bottled water.

The run on supplies has already begun here, with just the hint that Hurricane Rita (it's like a bad alcoholic combo) will head towards the Texas coast before the weekend. Rita is supposed to strengthen while over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and come in sometime Friday morning if everything goes to forecasted models. Now we're not quite sure where it will land, anywhere from Corpus Christi to western Louisiana. Still the interesting thing is that this weekend is Austin City limits festival, so I had already planned on getting out of town, so it's interesting that I might be in the middle of an evacuation as a part of the vacation.

Galveston is already recommending evacuation. Houston floods, but not like New Orleans, where it floods, and has no where to go. Still, a storm surge of 20 feet would drown Galveston completely. They are also moving the last evacuees from the Astrodome area to other cities not only for safety, but for mental health.

What's interesting is seeing how much extra caution and preparation is happening, now after Katrina. It's certainly more safe than sorry, but I think people here are just more worried than ever after watching what the neighbors go through their disaster. I don't even know if I've ever heard this much precaution, this early.

still, I hope someone calls President Bush. He needs all the forewarning he can get.

Last weekend I spent in Dallas, and I ended up spending $100 in gas to do that, and I didn't even drive to Temple to go to a birthday party of a friend of Chris'. I spent a lot of time in cars this weekend, as Temple is just north of Austin. There was a pool, and again the impulse to keep my shorts on as others dropped theirs. Still, I had a good time meeting people - a lot of people that aren't on LJ - go fig. Again it sometimes surprises me the gay communities that their are in small towns are pretty strong. Of course everyone knows each other, and divisions in various types of men don't seem as strong as they do in the city.

Just on the flip side was the pride parade in Dallas on Sunday. Officially it's known as the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, and it happens in September. Everything' a little different in Dallas. Of course they don't want to be upstaged in June by the other state parades, and there's some myth that it's cooler in September, but we were sweating it out in the 90+ degree weather.

Chris and I went with John ([ profile] furrytxcub) and his boyfriend. It was good to see John again and have a chance to talk with him for a while. He's a pretty sweet guy. The parade itself was rather unremarkable. The floats weren't that great, and one even used the same drag queen in the same outfit as she appeared on a different float a while before. I'm sorry, but drag recycling is just unacceptable.

Of course the Strangerettes were the toast of the parade.

Afterwards we went out to the rally and checked out the Sirius booth where Derek and Romaine were talking to listeners. they gave me a hat that I will be wearing at Austin City Limits. Otherwise, we didn't see too many people we knew, except for some of the guys from the Dallas Diablos rugby team.

By the time we walked back to the car, we were dog tired, since we were far down on the west side of Cedar Springs. We drove to Chris' home before going out to dinner, which was mostly paid for from gift certificates that Chris earned by working a couple of 80 hour weeks at work. Still, he'll get to enjoy some time off in Austin this weekend. Hopefully it won't be raining all that time.


Jul. 22nd, 2005 08:51 am
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I stumbled across a stupid story this morning. It's on a "family" news service, and it states Canadian Evangelicals Will Continue To Promote Traditional Marriage.

Really? I'm so proud. I was about to think that they had given up. Seriously, who would stop them? The law in Canada doesn't stop churches from marring men and women, nor does it force a church to conduct same-sex marriage if it doesn't want to. It just requires the state to conduct and recognize same sex marriages, and give them the full benefits and rights that "traditional" couples would have. For churches, nothing really changed.

I suppose what they are really worried about is because same-sex couples now join the mainstream, that there will be a slow and subtle push for their institutions to accept same-sex marriages in their churches, and over the years, this will probably be the case, but for now, as long as those preaching from the pulpit don't go bonkers, they can keep their current state of affairs (or supposed lack of affairs, this is the church, you know).

Still, things seem to be going full steam in Canada, where even the most staunch opponent, Alberta's Premier Ralph Klien has given in and stated that his province too, will comply with the new federal law. So much for Queen Elizabeth II swooping into save him by denying royal assent. You should never rely on someone with the title "queen" to help you on gay issues.

I guess in their own way, they are trying to fight back, as this site and others are still using the it's-not-real quotes around "marriage" after it follows the words same-sex or gay, in oder to invalidate the whole thing with their typing tricks.

Canada has done what it could to protect religious freedom, but marriage is a double edged sword, a word that carries both sacred and civil meaning, for better or worse, and for those who can't make the separation between church and state, it's going to be a hard road in the north.


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